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25549Re: "On the 'anthroposophy and racism' hoax"

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  • kmlightseeker
    May 4, 2006
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      Hi Theodor,

      --- In anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com, Theodor Grekenquist
      <grekenquist@...> wrote:
      > kmlightseeker wrote:
      > >To accuse Rudolf Steiner of discrimination in places where he
      > >resists neo-Darwinism, and to criminally condemn his scientific
      > >discernments on physiology is incomprehensible. It is irrelevant
      > >whether or not a scientific discernment might turn out to be incorrect.
      > The argument about Rudolf Steiner was a racist, this is not only a
      > contrived one. It is a groundless distraction from the problem with
      > Steiner and Anthroposophy. I cannot help the suspicion that people
      > who make many true observations and points about this man and his
      > philosophy and his claims, blow the whole thing, ruin their good
      > case, when they say that the man was racist and fascist and
      > anti-Semitic. What I suspect is that people who say that Steiner was
      > a racist and that Anthroposophy is racist, they repeat this losing
      > position because they do not have the proper conviction of reality,
      > like I have.

      I think there is a lot of interpetation involved, as is there is much
      speculation on received knowledge. The objections regarding Steiner's
      claims are variously concerned with politics, science, history and so
      on, so I don't see there being a singular or major focus on racism,
      although it may be a dominant theme in criticism of Steiner. However,
      perhaps I would agree with you by saying that I feel there is an
      ideological element or commitment underlying convictions about reality
      which can distort thinking or development of ideas or perception.

      > By conviction of reality I mean confidence in my rational and
      > scientific worldpicture. When you have that conviction, you can
      > easily see that Rudolf Steiner was out to lunch from he was born. It
      > is evident in his autobiography. It is in my view wrong to conclude
      > he was a trickster. He was instead of a trickster, a schizophrenic
      > delusionist and a "spiritual" megalomaniac (similar to whoever called
      > himself Jesus Christ). These schizophrenic, delusional spiritual
      > megalomaniacs come in two types: The benign and sympathetic ones, and
      > the malignant and destructive ones. Jesus and Buddha belong to the
      > former category. Hitler and Caligula belong to the latter category.
      > Rudolf Steiner also belongs to the former category, and to claim that
      > he was a racist or anti-Semite or fascist is either based on
      > insufficient study of the person and his irrational ramblings, or it
      > is because those who say they do not believe in his fantastic
      > visions, are taken in by it but they deny and suppress their
      > attraction to Steiner's academically seductive madness. So they try
      > to make the monster go away by resorting to racism, anti-Semitism,
      > and fascism. There is nothing "occult" or intangible about such
      > traits. It is like when Francis from Assissi, one of the most benign
      > schizophrenics in history, put ashes on his food so it should not
      > taste good. Putting racism on Steiner is like having ashes on St
      > Francis' dinner plate, to take away the good taste so one is not
      seduced by it.

      Like others have said in this and related recent threads I have doubts
      about Steiner being schizophrenic, but at the same time I cannot rule
      out the idea or possibility. We cannot do more than speculate about
      the possibility of mental illness in Steiner, indicating parellels (as
      if have in this thread) between expected disease symptoms and
      characterisitics and the aspects of Steiner we have received in books.
      This is not the same thing as a face to face diagnosis, I would think.

      I would agree that people are to some degree seduced by Steiner's
      thought, and feel antagonised when within themselves disillusionment
      sets in about his teachings. Possibly this could lead to large efforts
      to suppress a former influence or teacher/guru.

      > There is no doubt in my mind that Steiner was not only benign and
      > idelistic anti-racist who saw himself as a savior like Jesus. I see
      > no evidence of deception in him. He believed his own wild fantasies
      > since childhood. He probably had a bad and painful childhood,
      > possibly with abuse that he suppressed and forgot. He never met his
      > parents or siblings when he was grown up, it was too painful. The
      > only thing he tells us is that he never played or had fun when a
      > child, and he only began to play out his own childhood as a young
      > tutor of children.

      Well, with respect you could not know for sure whether he was
      experiencing fantasies or not. You were not there, and you were not
      him. It should be remembered that the age of modern science is only
      300 years old compared to 3000/4000 plus years of civilization,
      philosophy and religion/spirituality. The assumption that
      materialistic science has final unequivicol authority on what is
      reality and what is not is a flimsy one in my view. So, the sciences
      of neurology, psychiatry and allied disciplines can make some claims,
      but these are based on *beliefs* about reality, based on a mechanistic
      foundation. Therefore, claims about Steiner's emotional and mental
      state, made as they are after the fact and in line with certain ideas
      about reality and not others, are shown to be somewhat less convincing
      and helpful in understanding Steiner's thinking.

      > This may explain why Steiner mixed all those childish fantasies into
      > his scientific thinking. Fairy tales, poetry, and sunday school
      > stories about Jesus. I do not understand why one is negative about
      > Waldorf schools either, because Steiner was a kind and benevolent
      > personality, and his world of fantasy is fun and good for children.
      > He had a keen understanding of the science of his time and also of
      > literature and philosophy. He could have been a very good scientist
      > and scholar and philosopher too if he had not suffered from this
      > "occult" schizophrenia. This disease may be infectious, so although I
      > think there is nothing wrong having children in Waldorf, it is not
      > good for all people to read Steiner's anthroposophy, especially when
      > it makes them "anthros" to do so.

      There is always the risk of a cultic following developing in such
      situations. As far as the occult is concerned, it has a very long
      tradition and history and with many varied manifestations and ideas -
      it is not the exclusive providence of shysters or otherwise mistaken

      > I say let us look at the problem with Steiner and Anthroposophy for
      > what it is: A case of schizophrenia matched with benign megalomania
      > due to suppressed painful childhood experiences that made him project
      > this suppressed childhood into his adult life and scientific
      > thinking. It is not necessary to argue endlessly about racism and
      > anti-Semitism and fascism, these are virtually non-existent and
      > overshadowed by his rambling idealism about the brotherhood of man.
      > The megalomaniac in him wanted to lift all of humanity out of misery
      > into his own "heaven" or "spiritual world" where he could play school
      > teacher for eternity. He sincerely believed in this fantasy so he was
      > not a deceptive or bad person, only mad in a kind sort of way.

      You have no independently observed and verified evidence that it was a
      fantasy. You've utilised the tools of biography and history to make
      scientific judgements, which can only be speculations and with the
      possibility of inaccuracy and gaps in knowledge. But I agree he was
      determined to make the world take a different course based on his
      ideas, and that he was very much a huminatarian.



      > Theodor Grekenquist
      > http://www.skeptic.com/
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